Alaska Statutes.
Title 31. Oil and Gas
Chapter 5. Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Act
Section 30. Powers and Duties of Commission.
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AS 31.05.030. Powers and Duties of Commission.

(a) The commission has jurisdiction and authority over all persons and property, public and private, necessary to carry out the purposes and intent of this chapter.

(b) The commission shall investigate to determine whether or not waste exists or is imminent, or whether or not other facts exist which justify or require action by it.

(c) The commission shall adopt regulations and orders and take other appropriate action to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

(d) The commission may require

(1) identification of ownership of wells, producing leases, tanks, plants, and drilling structures;

(2) the making and filing of reports, well logs, drilling logs, electric logs, lithologic logs, directional surveys, and all other subsurface information on a well for which a permit to drill has been issued by the comission, subject to the following:

(A) the reports required to be filed by the commission under this paragraph shall be filed within 30 days after the completion, abandonment, or suspension of the well; and

(B) the well logs, drilling logs, electric logs, lithologic logs, directional surveys, and all other information required to be filed by the commission under this paragraph shall be filed within 90 days after the completion, abandonment, or suspension of the well, unless extended by the commission on request;

(3) the drilling, casing and plugging of wells in a manner that will prevent the escape of oil or gas out of one stratum into another, the intrusion of water into an oil or gas stratum, the pollution of fresh water supplies by oil, gas or salt water, and prevent blowouts, cavings, seepages and fires;

(4) the furnishing of a reasonable bond with sufficient surety conditions for the performance of the duty to plug each dry or abandoned well or the repair of wells causing waste;

(5) the operation of wells with efficient gas-oil and water-oil ratios, and may fix these ratios;

(6) the gauging or other measuring of oil and gas to determine the quality and quantity of oil and gas;

(7) every person who produces oil or gas in the state to keep and maintain for a period of five years in the state complete and accurate records of the quantities of oil and gas produced, which shall be available for examination by the commission at all reasonable times;

(8) the measuring and monitoring of oil and gas pool pressures;

(9) the filing and approval of a plan of development and operation for a field or pool to prevent waste, ensure a greater ultimate recovery of oil and gas, and protect the correlative rights of persons owning interests in the tracts of land affected.

(e) The commission may regulate

(1) for conservation purposes and, to the extent not in conflict with regulation by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development or the Department of Environmental Conservation, for public health and safety purposes,

(A) the drilling, producing, and plugging of wells;

(B) the perforating, fracture simulation, and chemical treatment of wells;

(C) the spacing of wells;

(D) the disposal of salt water, nonpotable water, and oil field wastes;

(E) the contamination or waste of underground water;

(F) the quantity and rate of the production of oil and gas from a well or property; this authority shall also apply to a well or property in a voluntary cooperative or unit plan of development or operation entered into in accordance with AS 38.05.180 (p);

(G) the underground injection of gas for purposes of storage;

(2) the disposal of drilling mud, cuttings, and nonhazardous drilling operation wastes in the annular space of a well for which a permit to drill has been issued by the commission; in this paragraph, a "nonhazardous drilling operation waste" means a waste, other than a hazardous waste identified by the Environmental Protection Agency in 40 C.F.R., Part 261, its regulation identifying and listing hazardous wastes, associated with the act of drilling a well for exploratory or production purposes.

(f) The commission may classify a well or a specific portion of a well as an exploratory, development, service, or stratigraphic test well and may classify a development well as an oil or gas well for purposes material to the interpretation or enforcement of this chapter.

(g) When the commission finds sufficient likelihood of an unexpected encounter of oil, gas, or other hazardous substance as a result of well drilling in an area of the state, the commission may, by regulation, designate the area and specify a depth in the area as one in which wells or any boring into the soil in excess of the specified depth but not otherwise subject to this chapter are subject to the regulations and requirements adopted under this section. The designation of an area or specification of a depth under this subsection does not constitute a certification that no hazardous substance will be encountered in another area or at a lesser depth, and the state is not liable for any damages arising from such an unexpected encounter of a hazardous substance.

(h) The commission may take all actions necessary to allow the state to acquire primary enforcement responsibility under 42 U.S.C. 300h-1 and 42 U.S.C. 300h-4 (Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 300f - 300j-26), for the control of underground injection related to the recovery and production of oil and natural gas and the control of underground injections in Class I wells, as defined in 40 C.F.R. 144.6, as amended.

(i) The commission shall accept written plans submitted by lessees for purposes of AS 38.05.180 (f)(5). If a lessee submits a plan, the commission shall hold a public hearing on the plan and, within 45 days after receipt of the plan, grant approval of the plan if the plan contains a voluntary agreement by the lessee to use its best efforts to employ residents of this state, consistent with law, and to contract with firms in this state for work in connection with the development of the field, including the fabrication and installation of required facilities, whenever feasible. The decision of the commission to grant approval may not be appealed.

(j) For exploration and development operations involving nonconventional gas, the commission

(1) may not

(A) issue a permit to drill under this chapter if the well would be used to produce gas from an aquifer that serves as a source of water for human consumption or agricultural purposes unless the commission determines that the well will not adversely affect the aquifer as a source of water for human consumption or agricultural purposes; or

(B) allow injection of produced water except at depths below known sources of water for human consumption or agricultural purposes;

(2) shall

(A) regulate hydraulic fracturing in nonconventional gas wells to ensure protection of drinking water quality;

(B) regulate the disposal of wastes produced from the operations unless the disposal is otherwise subject to regulation by the Department of Environmental Conservation or the United States Environmental Protection Agency;

(C) as a condition of approval of a permit to drill a well for regular production of coal bed methane, require the operator to design and implement a water well testing program to provide baseline data on water quality and quantity; the commission shall make the results of the water well testing program available to the public.

(k) The commission shall certify to the Department of Natural Resources the volume of oil production from a field or platform for the purposes of AS 38.05.180 (f)(6)(A), (C), (E), and (G).

(l) For purposes of AS 46.04.050 (c) and upon application by the operator, the commission shall evaluate the likelihood that a well at a natural gas exploration facility may penetrate a formation capable of flowing oil to the ground surface and issue a determination based on results of the evaluation. If the commission determines that evidence obtained through the evaluation demonstrates with reasonable certainty that a well will not penetrate a formation capable of flowing oil to the ground surface, it shall report its determination to the Department of Environmental Conservation. In this subsection,

(1) "natural gas exploration facility" has the meaning given in AS 46.04.050(c);

(2) "oil" has the meaning given in AS 46.04.050 (c).

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